The Balnaves' family vineyard is situated at the southern end of the famous Coonawarra 'Terra Rossa' strip. Planted in 1975, the vineyard is 48 hectares in size and has been in the family for three generations. The predominant variety planted is Cabernet Sauvignon. Winemaker Pete Bissell was the Qantas Winemaker of the Year 2005 and Balnaves was James Halliday's Winery of the Year in 2008.
Since the planting of the first five hectares of vines in 1975, the Balnaves vineyards have grown steadily, and Cabernet Sauvignon accounts for 70% of the planted area. The vineyard is divided into small blocks of between one and two hectares, based on depth of soil, trellis design, vine clone and row direction. The quality of wine produced from these small blocks is evaluated each year and recorded. For Balnaves, this practice proves the effect that microclimate and geological features have on the quality of the wine produced. The soils here are the famous rust-coloured, iron-rich Coonawarra terra rossa soils.
The 2012 vintage began with mild and warm weather, which promoted early budburst and vegetative growth. Lack of frost and frequent rains maintained this early growing season. Strong winds during flowering resulted in poorer fruit set than in previous vintages and high temperatures during early berry development resulted in small berries. This meant yields were significantly reduced but the quality and aromatic potential of fruit was not impaired. 2012 has been hailed by winegrowers and critics as a vintage to collect.
After fermentation the wine spent 20 months in tight-grain French oak barrels from Seguin Moreau, Taransaud, Sylvain and Berger cooperages, before bottling in December 2013.
A classically elegant Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon, this wine is deep ruby in colour with rich aromas of blackcurrant fruit, liquorice and mineral characters which are enhanced by cedary French oak. Beautifully balanced with a long, textured finish.